Translating Photos into Paintings: Interpreting Light and Color | Octo | Donna Downey Studios Inc
Translating Photos into Paintings: Interpreting Light and Color | October 27, 2018
Studio Workshop

Translating Photos into Paintings: Interpreting Light and Color

  • Instructor Diane Pike
  • Date October 27, 2018
  • Location Lincolnton, NC
Only 7 spots left

There is nothing better than standing outdoors and painting from life. This is where our subject has the most visual impact and truth. However, on the days when nature is either stifling hot, cold, too windy, too wet or too snowy—the studio is where we end up painting. But how do you translate a photo into a painting?

This workshop will address the pitfalls of painting from photographs. I will talk about translating the photo in regards to composition, focal points, light and shadow and how to tell the true story of value relationships. I will also talk about doing good sketches before you start to paint and briefly discuss the Notan method of value sketching.

I will do a demo on how to select a composition, do a series of quick sketches and then start the final painting process. After this, students will select photos to paint from—I will provide all the photos to choose from—complete several quick sketches and then begin their painting.

10 AM - 5PM



Diane Pike was born in Iowa, and moved to Boulder, Colorado at an early age. Boulder was home for 50 years until the Lake Norman area of North Carolina became her residence in late 2008. Diane graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 1975 with a focus on graphic design and printmaking. She took her first painting class in 2002, learning the Henry Hensche tradition --The Art of Color Seeing--studying the effect that light has on color. It is this approach that fuels Diane's paintings and infuses them with saturated color and abstract shapes.


Diane paints full-time at her Lake Norman studio and  also teaches several workshops a year---Texas, New Mexico, Alaska, North Carolina and Ireland have been recent workshop locations. She is a Signature Member of Plein Air Artists Colorado, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of Colorado and a member of the Piedmont Pastel Society in North Carolina.


Supply list:

My primary mediums are pastels and oils, but watercolorists and acrylic painters are welcome too. I will be doing my demo in oil.

Bring a sketch book. I use a 5x7 for studio and plein air sketches. You can use pencils or black ink pens, like a Sharpie.

For pastel painters-

Please bring any and all colors you enjoy painting with. Bring the paper or surface you like to use, at least 12 x 16.  I use UArt 280 grit sanded paper. A surface to adhere the paper to is needed as well. I use 1/2 inch foam core wrapped in felt. I use soft rags to wipe my pastel sticks while painting.

You will need an easel and for pastel artists, a place to set your sticks.  I prefer to stand to paint, and recommend artists do so, but I understand that sitting is necessary for some.


For oil painters—

Please bring 100% odorless mineral spirits to clean your brushes. I use Gamsol which is a 100% odorless, non-carcinogenic mineral spirit. Please make sure the mineral spirits you use are completely odor free. Bring a palette to put your paints on. You will need an easel, brushes, a container for your mineral spirits.

You may bring any and all colors you like to paint with. I do not use black on my palette.

I use paper towels to wipe paint off my brush. Viva is a good choice

Bring the panel or paper you prefer. I use canvas panels. For this workshop, bring at least 11x14  or 12 x 16.


* To book a room at our studio, email or call us at 704-240-8076 or

Studio events are a 2-4 day immersion in mixed-media art and journaling. These creative weekends are filled with the process driven exploration of creative mediums and applications in an intimate, supportive environment, challenging students to expand their creativity through the exploration of new artistic methods and mediums.


What airport do I fly into?

Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina

Do I need to rent a car?

We offer complimentary rides (at specified times) to and from the airport and shuttle you each day to the studio. For more info, click here.

Where do I stay?

You can either book a room at our new studio or get a special rate with our hotel partner.

To book a room at our studio, email or call us at 704-240-8076 or For more info on rooms, click here.
To book a room with a special rate with our hotel partner, see below:

Quality Inn (located 2 miles from Donna Downey Studios)
1550 E Main St, Lincolnton, North Carolina, 28092
Phone: +1-623-432-0782

Hampton Inn (located 2 miles from Donna Downey Studios)
129 Roper Drive, Lincolnton, North Carolina, 28092
Phone: +1-704-736-2000

To register online for the special event rate, click here or call and use Donna Downey Studios corporate code 0002759994

What is the cancellation policy?

Purchased class spots are non-refundable. In the event that you cannot attend, and the workshop is sold out, please email to be put in contact with the first person on the waiting list. From there, the payment must be worked out between both parties. If there is no waiting list, we are unfortunately unable to provide any refund or credit.

If you would like to enroll in a workshop that has been sold out,
please send an email to and you will be put on a waiting list.
Questions? Contact